Today is a big day at GO Box. We’re thrilled to announce the introduction of a brand new reusable: a 12oz cup! Since GO Box launched in 2011, we’ve built a community of subscribers, vendors and local businesses that are working together to do away with throw away. With this cup, GO Box is committing to growing that community – making reusables more accessible and eliminating more environmentally harmful single use products.
Portland is a coffee town – hot or iced, drip to latte – you can get yourself an excellent pour from hundreds of cafes. The unfortunate side affect of this caffeine culture is the mountain of single use cups it generates – estimated to be 50 MILLION used in the Metro area per year. Per Recycling Advocate’s website, all that cup trash adds up to “3 MILLION pounds of solid waste generated and 6,000 metric tons of CO2 generated.” That’s equal to consuming “600,000 gallons of gas” or burning “6 million pounds of coal” in one year. The impact of single use disposables goes beyond bad trash though – 6.5 million trees are cut down, 4 billion gallons of water used, and enough energy to power 54,000 homes is consumed all to produce the 16 billion coffee cups used each year. So many resources for a product with such a short functional lifespan!
But Aren’t They Recyclable?
There has been a lot of confusion around the recyclability of single use to go coffee cups. They are NOT recyclable, due to plastic liner and potential contamination from leftover liquids. The plastic lids that come with coffee cups are also NOT recyclable. Please don’t put single use coffee cups in your recycling bin – they’ll contaminate the true recyclables and render the whole bin garage.
Can’t people just bring their own reusable cups?
Lots of folks have personal mugs they bring with them to cafes – and we think that’s pretty awesome. And we know lots more folks would use a personal mug, but they may have forgotten it at home or not had room to pack it into their (already full) bag. For those coffee drinkers and more, we want to make it easy and fun to choose to reuse. So that a brew grabbed to go doesn’t damage our environment. So that Portland can continue to be coffee crazy without creating a crazy impact.
Why These Cups?
The GO Box team spent a lot of time considering options for our new cup and selected to collaborate with Ecoffee Cup, a UK based manufacturer. Developed in 2014, Ecoffee Cup produces their cups using natural bamboo fibre, corn starch and resin. It’s BPA, BPS and phthalate free. The lid is made with matte, food-grade silicone which is latex-free. In addition to work great to sip hot liquids, the lid can also work with (reusable) straws for iced beverages. The whole cup is dishwasher safe – will be washing them with the same commercial dishwashing equipment we use to clean and sanitize our containers. We expect these cups to last many years and prevent many thousands of single use disposables from entering our local waste stream. To be sure we’re starting off in the right way, we’ve calculated the carbon footprint to produce and ship the cups to Portland and have purchased carbon offsets so that their addition to our business is carbon neutral.
Where are they available?
We are excited to have partnered with Nossa Familia Coffee to launch the cups at their zero waste Seven Corners Cafe at 2007 SE Division Street. They are now available for GO Box subscribers to pick up with their to go drink order. Nossa Familia joins New Seasons Market Seven Corners, Garden Bar, Ford Food & Drink, Stella Taco and Aybla Grill to offer GO Box reusables to the Division Street neighborhood. In the next few weeks, we’ll also launch cups at New Seasons Market on Williams and Grand Central Bakery on Woodstock. We’ll continue to onboard additional cafes across town and we could use your help! Let us know which cafes you’d like to see GO Box cups offered and be sure to contact the cafe directly to encourage them to partner with GO Box.
Thank you for supporting reuse with GO Box! We look forward to continuing to build our community, working together to stop single use with sustainable reusable containers, and now, cups!